Dr. Rajan Sankaran shares his remedy picture of Argentum Nitricum from his book, The Soul of Remedies. Fear of high places, fear of losing control and fear of narrow places are among the keynote rubrics.
It is a mineral remedy belonging to the sycotic, tubercular and cancer miasms. It is a compound silver (Ag), of Argentum whose main theme is performance and Nitrate whose main theme is the feeling of sudden danger. The two come together in Argentum nitricum, whose main theme as “Performance in sudden danger or crisis”.
There is a feeling as if the person will be accepted only if he can perform at the time of crisis. There is a feeling of being neglected and despised if he does not perform at the time of crisis. I call them “Crisis Managers”. They are troubleshooters of the highest degree and see their role as that, feeling very much neglected or isolated, and feeling a failure if they can’t perform in a crisis.
The situational Materia Medica of Argentum nitricum is a situation in which he himself has to struggle and nobody is going to help him; he is trying but not succeeding.
This situation arose from being trapped alone in some circumstance, and trying desperately to find a way out, in which case Argentum nitricum would be a psoric remedy. But by examining a little deeper we find the basis of all these fears. He has a tremendous sense of fault within, which he is trying to cover up and hence has several sycotic traits such as compulsion about time, about planning things, about doing things in a particular way, such as obsessions with fixed ideas that he cannot pass a certain place. So we see fixed ideas and fixed actions.
It is important for him to keep control in a critical situation and find his way out of the problem. This is shown in the rubric “Fear of losing self-control”, which I consider one of the leading rubrics of this remedy. In whichever situation self-control is needed, he becomes highly nervous, as he lacks it; for example at the time of performance during crisis as is seen in the rubrics:
Fear of high place.
Fear of narrow places
Fear when anticipating an engagement.
Hurry, time, to arrive at appointed
Fear of failure
Diarrhoea from anxiety
Fear of falling, etc.
Whichever situation in life reminds Argentum nitricum of a trap, aggravates Argentum nitricum persons and they can act impulsively to get out of this trap. The expression they like to use often is: “There is no way out” or “I don’t see the way out”. Such situations could be:
High places: e.g. buildings on fire
Any place where the exit is blocked
Another situation is the stage. The patients are anxious to go on stage but when persuaded, they feel isolated and trapped. They feel as if they are alone and the exit is blocked.
The compensation is to see the way out all the time and to never enter a situation where the exit is not seen, for example going on a journey only after booking the return ticket, or sitting next to the door in a cinema. They are especially particular about planning and confirm their appointments one or more times before arriving, and usually arrive much before their appointed time. When they come in, they sit as if ready to start running. They are quite hurried and impatient.
Argentum nitricum also has a lot to do with suspense. They either crave for suspense or they can’t stand suspense and sometimes both. They like challenging jobs in order to overcome the fear. When they feel trapped, they do almost suicidal, impulsive things. In physical terms it is like throwing yourself out of the window, but in psychological terms it means they will impulsively get out of the situation in which they feel trapped. For example. in their business if they feel anxious or tense, they can impulsively and suddenly drop the whole thing and leave even though they may lose a lot. So you have the rubric: “Indifferent to business affairs”.
Argentum nitricum can be compared with Gelsemium. They are complementary remedies. If, for the Argentum nitricum person, the situation reaches the level where he can do nothing about it, he goes into a Gelsemium state. In Argentum nitricum there is restlessness, activity, hurry, impulsive acts. Gelsemium is slow, sluggish, dull, paralytic and doesn’t want to be disturbed.
Both Argentum nitricum and Aconitum have sudden anxiety attacks. The difference is that in Argentum nitricum they appear in fixed situations, for instance while passing a certain point, in closed places, high places, before an engagement or a journey, etc. In short, Argentum nitricum has more of a phobic kind of neurosis whereas in Aconitum there is anxiety neurosis with nonspecific yet intense anxiety states.
Lycopodium is likely to be the psoric counterpart of Argentum nitricum, being involved in a struggle which is concerned with self-control, high places and success. This correspondence is seen in the following rubrics in the case of Argentum nitricum: “Undertakes nothing lest he fail”, and its counterpart in Lycopodium is: “Fear of not being able to reach his destination” and “Fear of undertaking anything”.
In clinical practice I have seen that Argentum nitricum can create, at the physical level, a feeling of intense oppression and claustrophobia.
Ailments from anticipation.
Delusion, corners of houses project so that he fears he will run against them while walking in the street.
Delusion, deserted, forsaken.
Delusion, despised he is.
Delusion, place he cannot pass, certain.
Excitement, anticipating events, when.
Fear, crossing a bridge or place, of.
Anticipation, stage fright.
Fear, diarrhoea, from.
Fear, failure, of.
Fear, falling, of.
Fear, late, of being.
Fear, narrow places, in.
Fear, ordeals of.
Fear, self-control, of losing.
Fear, undertaking anything.
High places, aggravate.
Hurry, time, hurry to arrive, for appointed.
Hurry, walking, while.
Time passes too slowly, appears longer.
Undertakes nothing, lest he fail.
Anxiety, time is set, if a.
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To read about the philosophical approach to developing these remedy pictures, see Dr. Sankaran’s introduction to Soul of Remedies: